On Tuesday, April 1, an article from the L.A. Times hit the Internet, highlighting the perpetually foul treatment fast-food workers experience both on and off the clock. There were allegations of wage theft and blatant disregard for the established American labor laws.
Fast-food jobs are often viewed from a very stereotypical lens. People assume these jobs are strictly for teenagers in high school, striving to make a quick buck. It's also assumed that most of the employees are good-for-nothings and/or high school dropouts. In reality, in a country that is steadfast about outsourcing industrial jobs, this industry has helped supply employment to the unemployed.
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In 2014 statistics have shown that the average fast-food worker is actually attempting to raise a family and function like a normal human on a salary that often leaves them in poverty. In Chicago, 92 percent of fast-food workers claim that they have experienced wage theft. I've personally spoken to at least 30 St. Louis fast-food workers who have had similar issues. As a former fast-food worker myself, I also experienced this.
Wage theft is defined as illegally holding an employee's wages or the illegal denial of benefits. This usually occurs at jobs that hire low-wage workers, such as fast-food workers or immigrants.
I worked at the Arby's on West Florrisant for a brief spell when I was a teenager. I was attempting move out of my parents' home and get myself an apartment. I wasn't seeking anything too fancy, just something that would allow me to stand on my own two feet. I was fresh out of high school, and I worked a few jobs to make ends meet. I'm a hardworking individual -- I believe if you accept the job, you have no other obligation but to work hard and display as much diligence as possible. The problem is, I was working harder than ever and leaving with a paycheck that could barely pay my cell-phone bill. The management would cut our hours in the blink of an eye to help assist food costs. They had zero regard for our personal problems and financial woes.
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